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An interesting discussion subject.

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Posted By : The Method | Comments : 25

Live music venues in residential areas.

A post I saw on Facebook suggested that a well known music venue we and numerous bands will have played could have it's licence revoked because of complaints about the noise.
We have played a nice venue in Stockport that has taken this seriously and come up with a common sense solution.
Bands start at 9pm and finish at 11pm and sound levels are kept at a reasonable level.
This arrangement suits all parties and it's surprising it hasn't been implemented more widely.
What do bands and venues think ?


# Posted by JUICY - 30/10/2016, 14:16 (GMT)

This sounds very reasonable - at least bands stand a fair chance of getting home a bit earlier.
Is the noise issue solely connected to bands and their volume or does the nuisance complained about also constitute people entering or leaving the venue?
What venue said that it may face having it's licence revoked because of complaints?


# Posted by Bobo - 30/10/2016, 14:31 (GMT)

The MU has had several articles on this subject. London and Manchester in particular have had problems but recently some local authorities have made it a condition of planning permission for residential development near established music venues that sufficient sound proofing is built in (sorry no pun intended) to the designs.
I have always been surprised about people who buy a house/flat near a music venue and then moan about the noise!

For the sake of balance, a lot of bands I have seen play unnecessarily loudly for pubs ( including one I played with for 15 months - the only band in which I ever had to wear earplugs!) It should therefore be up to the pub/venue to insist on a sensible level as part of the verbal contract so they could sack the band if they ignored requests to lower the volume. It's their licence at stake of course.
I don't feel qualified to comment on the playing hours - 11 in some pubs might be ok but 12 in others - and it would depend again on the proprietor

People leaving the pub are responsible for keeping their noise down but we are getting into an area where I don't think I know the answer to that one!

# Posted by The Method - 30/10/2016, 14:33 (GMT)

The post covered several issues,bands only being a part of the issues covered.
The "standard" finish time of midnight is understandable in a town centre environment but when the venue is close to houses surely an earlier finish makes sense.

# Posted by Mr Cottonhouse - 30/10/2016, 14:52 (GMT)

A listening audience in general seems to be 'past it's best' after 11.15pm. If you are looking at late night entertainment then you are looking at dancing music only and dancing music needs to be loud.
It's all down to the venue. At Number 39 I go round and close all the open windows at 11pm and the louder bands are all finished for 11.30pm. I am always concerned about the volume and the risk of complaints. As yet we have only one noise complaint and that was to me and not the authorities.....thankfully.

# Posted by Evenfall covers group - 30/10/2016, 15:49 (GMT)

I am part of an acoustic trio. We play laid back songs but also dance songs and we use a drum machine on most of the upbeat songs. We are not "rock band" loud and don't intend to be, so it's annoying when we go to a venue and they keep asking us to "turn it up". At a couple of these I mimed messing with the knobs on the mixing desk and got the thumbs up.

When we've finished playing and everyone has finished dancing and we are packing up some venues then turn on their piped music and it's so bloody loud nobody can speak to each other. People's ears only hear by pressure and most good sounds get lost once the music is too loud for people to talk over.

We've come across one nice venue that has stopped putting on bands because of the noise issue, which affects us because we aren't one of those noisy bands but it's another venue lost to us for a re-book. A couple of others we are booked into have started bands earlier (8pm for us tonight in Bolton which is great), and a club we are booked into stipulates on the booking form - must be a reasonable noise level - not too loud. Suits us fine.

I am glad that this is happening because hopefully venues that allow bands to be too loud will realise that some customers stay away when the bands are too loud, - not me saying that - I've talked to our audiences to find out what the people thing.

Although I am sorry that some venues might not make it through if councils are cracking down, I hope it forces the venues to control the noise levels and hopefully put bands on earlier where the venue is in a residential area.

# Posted by ThePunkMonkeys - 30/10/2016, 20:08 (GMT)

You are exactly right about pressure on your ears - loud doesnt mean good... clear is the name of the game if you ask me it can seem "louder" when not clouded with muddy bass and low mids yet will keep db meters happy.

Todays society of whinging and soapboxing about everything and anything is probably half the problem. Yes if you move near a venue its a bit daft to winge - but ppl do! Earlier finish would make sense by most ppl the, people who arent staying are going on to the next place about 11 anyway so would nake sense to me i would be happy to

# Posted by Howard - Sound and Light Produ... - 30/10/2016, 20:10 (GMT)

i have some sympathy with the argument that the bar has been there forever and have more sympathy if that bar is owned by a small independent operator.
But that's where my sympathy runs out.
The pub co's and venue operators have had 20 years to sort this out and often it's greed that stops them - I know because I have worked as a consultant on behalf of contractors working for the pub co.

Environmental health officers are usually pretty fair and they usually give plenty of chance for discussion, consultation and a negotiated solution - the aim of that solution being that noise in residential neighbourhoods should be no more than the background levels at the complainants location.
So my approach has always been the same with EHO's
meet them on site and take readings at or as close to the complainant as possible,
agree what the level of noise is without the disturbance and what the level is with the disturbance in place.
set out a reasonable time table for designing reasonable solutions and another for timetable for installation.
once the EHO sees a timetable they are happy. job done. money for old rope to be honest.

the stumbling point is the pub co. the bigger they are it seems, the less they want to spend. venues that are music specific (as distinct from pubs) night clubs, live music venues etc are harder strapped for cash but more willing to spend what they have.

I had one large pub co whose noise problem was their smokers area outside - i could have mitigated it with acoustic fencing - but that costs a fair amount - rather than spend the 10k required they spent 2k moving the smoking area to the other side of the pub knowing that it would cure the problem but piss off an entirely new set of neighbours but it would buy them another 12 months or so of trading to go through the same process again.

meanwhile bands complain about the neighbours who have their rights in law - how many people drive 60 miles an hour down a 30 mile an hour speed limit because the speed used to be 60 and it's the neighbours problem for having a new house built ..
...and what's the probable outcome for who is in the wrong? it's no different.

In every other area of our life ignorance of the law is no excuse - why is playing music different? But put the blame where it belongs - with those too greedy to pay. you only need to look back of house in a lot of pub co venues to see that the money stops when they can't sell something to the customer.
they are all too eager to tart the place up and have adequate opportunity during refurbs to look at acoustics but never do unless they are forced and threatened. If you ever see a noise meter it's usually because someone saw the price for proper acoustic treatment or even for a consultant to look at it and decided to pay a few hundred to an electrician instead to appease the EHO.

by the way - have you ever noticed that you seldom hear of complaints not addressed by social clubs (political or otherwise) and they have often had entertainment on for much longer than pub co premises.

I do however feel sorry for the small independent. they are like the corner shop, still trying to buck the trend of the supermarket. and they don't usually have the money to sort the issue. alas this market, like any other, is constantly evolving and no matter how much i miss the Lamb Hotel it and it's like are not coming back.

# Posted by Daz (scopyons) - 30/10/2016, 22:36 (GMT)

Start times if 10 pm us are to blame for a lot of these issues , band times of 930 until 1145 would not be an issue for most environmental health officers , ove the last five years the band times have got later and later , leading to bored patrons and aggrieved neighbours , loud music in a residential area is a statuary nuisance , this isn't going to change. All partys working together and setting clear boundaries will pay dividends

# Posted by WAGONTOWN - 31/10/2016, 10:22 (GMT)

If bands didn't play dead dead loud we wouldn't have these problems in the first place. I know loads of folk who just carry on walking past the pub door when dead dead loud bands are on no matter what time it is. Lets face it, we might as well have 4 blokes with road drills on the stage for all the difference it makes to sound quality.


# Posted by JUICY - 31/10/2016, 10:40 (GMT)

+1 for Tel.
I reckon it would be easier to fit a sound limiter to the guitarists' gear because it's usually their fault that everybody in a band has to play louder to stand a chance of getting heard.
Or am I just being cynical? - over to any sound and light production Meisters who may be looking.


# Posted by 4 Strings - 31/10/2016, 15:20 (GMT)

Lots of factors influence why there are sound nuisance issues.

A lot of equipment used by bands is designed for stage use rather set up on the floor in the corner or fireplace. Simple things, like having the guitar cabs on stands and not the floor helps, if you are immediately front of the cabinet and it below your knees, are you cranking it up so you can hear yourself? Putting the cabinet on a stand means you can play at less volume, your actual sound is also playing out more as if you was on a stage. Bass cabs resonate on non-carpeted floors, I have started using a thick mat under the cab when setting up on non-carpeted floors to reduce the resonance, it really make a difference.

Quality gear, cheap poor gear creates a loud nuisance sound, all the bad parts of the sound amplified and seems to travel further as well. In comparison, quality gear will deliver better sound without having using excessive sound pressure levels to carry it.

I appreciate, not all of us can afford quality gear, getting the gear of the floor or using angled bass\guitar cabs helps carry a sound at a lower overall volume to where it needs to be helps.

# Posted by GEORGIA BROWNS - 31/10/2016, 17:15 (GMT)

9 till 11? You would be playing to about 15 people in most Town centre pubs. Most weekend revellers only turn out at 10 o clock because they get together at a mates house drinking cheap beer from Tesco's. They call in the pub for a couple of hours 10 till 12 then on to a nightclub. You will probably say I am talking shite but believe me Tesco and local authorities are yours and the licensees BIGGEST problem. Neither of them want pubs/clubs. From tesco's point of view the sooner there are no pubs left the quicker they can hike their prices up on their goods. They will still be able to blackmail the suppliers in to letting them have it on the cheap because they will be the only outlet for it. Result.... Far bigger profits for the greedy brown envelope wielding steamroller. This also suits local authorities down to the ground. Not as many people going out. Easier to police. Less spent on cleaning / repairs etc and the added bonus of the odd brown envelope off Mr Tesco. @Howard. The owner of Wigan pier spent tens of thousands on soundproofing following complaints from residents of newly built apartments 200 yards away from his premises all to no avail. They closed him down because when people were entering or leaving there was still a small amount of "sound" escaping. It is now demolished paving the way for more developers with more brown envelopes to persuade the council that their plans for the land will be the most beneficial.

(Unless you have a lot of brown envelopes and a bank account the size of Cuba)


# Posted by Mr Cottonhouse - 31/10/2016, 17:27 (GMT)

Agreed with that. Is it town centre pubs though that have problems with neighbours?

# Posted by JUICY - 31/10/2016, 18:04 (GMT)

The residents opposite the Chitlin Circuit joint you supposedly have music on did, but you sorted that.
I can hear The Crown's offerings on the occasional night I'm not playing but I haven't complained (yet).

@ Gary (Georgia's ) can't argue with your observations.


# Posted by Bobo - 31/10/2016, 23:42 (GMT)

Interesting, Gary's comments from the inside, so to speak. I can't argue with a lot he says and my experience too is that many pubs now want a 9.30 start because people only start coming in then!
However, I have to say, regarding the Wigan Pier reference, if a band inside a pub can be heard outside 200 yards away, never mind inside "newly built apartments", then they are far too loud! No wonder such a venue would be stopped from having bands on.

# Posted by GEORGIA BROWNS - 01/11/2016, 17:15 (GMT)

@Bobo. Wigan Pier was not a band venue but a "dance music" night club. It was no louder than many other places that I have visited and had been established many years before they converted an old mill in to apartments nearby. Almost immediately the complaints started and the owner did everything possible to try to appease the noise police without success. Your other point would seem relevant but I live 200 or more yards away from Hindley labour club and I can hear their Cabaret bands if I walk outside and they aren't exactly ear splitting rock. By the same token I have no doubt that the residents around HLC can hear the sound from GB's when the music from HLC has stopped. Sound carries far farther at night than during the day as there is not as much going on (traffic noise etc) to absorb it and(and this may seem rather anorakish) it is also louder in Winter when the trees are bare.


# Posted by WAGONTOWN - 01/11/2016, 18:07 (GMT)

There's me thinking it was due to the turning up of amps.


# Posted by Marauder - 02/11/2016, 08:12 (GMT)

Wigan Pier shut because it was selling poisonous vodka and 3 people almost died, NOT because of noise

# Posted by GEORGIA BROWNS - 02/11/2016, 18:57 (GMT)

^^^^^Go search the council records^^^^^


# Posted by THE Electric Cheese - 03/11/2016, 15:33 (GMT)

Looking at some of the gear some bands have on here, it's no wonder there are noise complaints. 100W valve guitar amps and 4 x 12s were designed to be used in large halls, not pubs.

# Posted by JUICY - 03/11/2016, 16:38 (GMT)

@ THE Electric Cheese,
But you forget that they're LIVE, ON STAGE, IN CONCERT!!
PS Fancy forming a Mumford and Sons Tribute Band?


# Posted by THE Electric Cheese - 04/11/2016, 11:14 (GMT)

Definitely! Can I be the twat who plays a banjo that's not really a banjo because he can't actually play the banjo?

# Posted by JUICY - 04/11/2016, 14:03 (GMT)

@ THE Electric Cheese.

No problem.

If we get practising now we can be ready for next year when a dippy bird wants a band for her "corporate" Christmas do.

Juice (of JUICY,now endorsed by Harry Ramsden's)

# Posted by WAGONTOWN - 04/11/2016, 16:14 (GMT)

Juice.. for a Mumford type band, we could be ready within a week, their songs all sound the same. We've been practising Rawhide for a month cos it's a proper tune and we still ain't quite grasped it. Ya little demon :0)


# Posted by JUICY - 04/11/2016, 18:10 (GMT)

Me,a little Demon?,and there was I thinking that I'd been converted to an Angel by the sanctimonious one!

Juice (of JUICY,now endorsed by Harry Ramsden's)

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